SYDNEY: Former union chief Bill Shorten was elected Australia’s new Labor leader on Sunday, with the party pledging to draw a line under years of infighting that saw two prime ministers toppled.
Shorten, an ambitious former head of the Australian Workers’ Union, beat former Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in a month-long leadership race which went to a combined vote of Labor MPs and the party’s rank-and-file members for the first time in its history.
Shorten, 46, secured victory by winning 55 of the 86 votes on offer from his parliamentary colleagues—some 64 percent—despite Albanese winning 60 percent of the popular membership vote.
Both ballots were weighted equally, meaning Shorten won 52.02 percent of the combined total.
“Today is a brand new day for the Australian Labor Party,” a “humbled” Shorten said, promising to renew “the trust of hundreds of thousands of Australians.”
“The leadership disunity of the past is just that—it’s in the past.”
Albanese said the party would unite behind Shorten, adding that he “will be a great Labor leader, he has my total loyalty in that position.”
“Labor is stronger and more united than we have ever been before,” said Albanese, warning Prime Minister Tony Abbott that the “honeymoon is over, baby.”
The new leadership election process was recently introduced by former premier Kevin Rudd, who was ousted in his first term by deputy Julia Gillard and went on to topple her three years later, angering voters and prompting a Labor rout at last month’s elections in favor of the Abbott-led conservatives.